In this article I’ll explain the 9th through the 16th things your agent must do for you when selling your home, and why each of these is crucial for the successful sale of your home. If you missed the article about the 1st through the 8th thing you might want to read that first 🙂
The last article was mostly about the first three “P’s” of selling a home: PRICING, PREPARING, and PRESENTING your home, and we did some preliminary PROMOTING in the middle of all that. Now we need to do big time PROMOTING, also known as MARKETING.
The 9th thing your agent must do for you, and this is ESSENTIAL, is…
9. Market Your Home Effectively in All the Right Places
There’s a saying in marketing. “Fish where the fish are biting”. Same in real estate.
You’ll find national statistics about where buyers find the homes they actually purchase. However those statistics vary greatly depending on the city or town. Your agent needs to know the local statistics to know where to focus, to market your home most effectively.
For example, in our area, a large proportion of our population relocated here from another state. When they got here, they didn’t know our neighborhoods or schools or traffic patterns, so almost all of them used a buyers agent to help them.
Then when they were ready to sell and buy again, they used an agent again. In that way, our area evolved into a place where over 90% of buyers engage a real estate agent to help them with their purchase decision.
Here are approximate statistics for our area, Raleigh/Durham/Cary, from lowest to highest.
- Less than 0.1% found their home through print advertising
- 0-5% of buyers find their home by visiting an Open House event. This is a range from 0-5% because it depends on how many cars go by the home and at what speed. Usually the risks of doing an open house are bigger than the benefits, but not always. Talk to your agent.
- 2% of buyers find their home by way of new home builder advertising or the builder’s agent. This doesn’t apply to your home, unless you’re a builder.
- 4% of buyers find their home through a Neighbor, Friend, or Relative
- 3-10% of buyers find their home by seeing a Yard Sign. This varies like an open house, and likewise, depends on traffic.
- 7% of buyers found their home on the Internet (for example Zillow or Realtor.com). Yep only 7%. Now it IS true… that pretty much 100% of buyers START their home search on the internet. But what matters is where the fish are BITING… not where they’re swimming, i.e. “window shopping”. What matters is where buyers find the home they ACTUALLY… BUY. And in our area, when buyers get serious, almost all of them reach out to an agent to help them. Because of that, in our area…
- 76% of buyers find the home they actually purchase from their agent.
So, your agent must:
FIRST know the statistics for your local area, and
THEN show you their plan to fish where the fish are biting (and haul in a boatload for your home).
And, since most of those fish find their home through their agent, YOUR agent must …
10. Motivate Other Agents to Sell Your Home to Their Buyers
Your agent must recruit every other agent in the area to help sell your home. How do they do that? By putting up a significant amount of their commission as a reward for any agent who brings in the buyer, who purchases your home, at a price you approve.
This also motivates your agent to try to bring the buyer, so they can claim that reward for themselves. Nothing wrong with that at all. But at any given time there are probably 10,000 active buyers in our area. Even if your agent is very very good and has 50 buyer clients, that’s only 0.5% of all the buyers, so we need to motivate all the other agents out there as well.
The second thing your agent must do to attract other agents to your home is to have a great reputation:
- First, for having homes that are easy to sell, that are prepared, presented perfectly, and not priced beyond all reason.
- Second, they have to be easy for other agents to work with. There are too many agents that are painful to work with. They don’t return calls, they stonewall and delay during repair negotiations, they misrepresent the intentions of their buyers.
If one of these types of agents is selling your home, you will get fewer showings and offers. And the offers you get will be lower to make up for the issues the buyer’s agent expects your agent to unnecessarily create during the transaction.
Make sure your agent has a good reputation among other agents.
At this point you should be getting offers, and now your agent needs to …
11. Fight For You During the Contract and Repair Negotiations
The most important factor here is to ensure your agent actually fights for you. If they don’t do that, all the negotiation techniques in the world won’t matter. So how do you determine that?
Here is the best test: First, ask them what their commission rate is. Then, whatever they say, ask them to reduce it by 1% (6 to 5, 5 to 4, whatever). If they agree to do it, don’t hire them.
First, if they don’t believe in their own values, why should you? Why should you hire them if they don’t think what they’re bringing to the table is worth the price they were originally asking?
Second, and more importantly, if your agent is willing to give up their own family’s money right in front of you, while you’re watching… what do you think they’re going to do during a negotiation involving YOUR family’s money, against the hardened, tough negotiator representing the buyer, when you aren’t right there watching them?
That’s right. They’ll give your money away, and probably even faster than they gave away their own money.
Expect your agent to be a tough negotiator. That alone will more than make up for the extra percentage you pay them.
Next, during the entire selling process, your agent must also…
12. Keep Your Stress Levels Low
Your agent should explain everything up front so you know what to expect, and deliver on everything they promise (on time without you having to ask).
Each time a phase of the process is completed, they should brief you about every potential situation that could happen next. Because there should be no surprises. Surprises are rarely a good thing in real estate.
You should never have to call them to ask what’s going on. They should anticipate and call you first, even if only to say “Everything’s good, there’s nothing happening you don’t already know about.” I’m just calling so you know I’m thinking about YOU and YOUR HOME.”
If you ever need to call them, they should call you back, and I mean quickly. We’re talking about a very important deal in your life, and they should be treating the sale of your home as top priority.
If your agent does everything right, your home should normally sell quickly and for a great price. However, in the real world your agent cannot control everything. Therefore, your agent must…
13. Suggest Adjustments as Soon As the Market Clearly Signals They Are Needed
For example, your agent should know within a week to ten days if your home is priced too high. If it is, they need to come to you immediately and present their reasoning without pulling any punches.
Another example… maybe you insisted on not replacing your worn carpet but still priced it as if you had, and your agent said “Okay, it’s your house you’re the boss”. And now you’ve had 20 showings in 20 days and NO offers. Your agent needs to be direct with you and say “We either need to lower the price enough to get ahead of the curve instead of chasing it, or we need to take the home temporarily off the market and replace the carpet.”
In these unfortunate but often real situations, the longer your home is on the market unsold, the lower your eventual price will go. Your agent must never make you pay for their hesitation in addressing an uncomfortable situation. Being straightforward with you, diplomatically, with data, is what you have a right to expect from a true professional who is looking out for you, right?
14. Your Agent’s FIRM Should Bring Your Agent (And YOU) a Ton of Value
A crazy fact in real estate is that while most brokerages provide some sort of training and process to help their agents acquire clients, very few brokerages provide any training or support to help them be good at actually selling homes. Most brokerages give their agents no training, no systems, no processes to get that job done. Every agent has to invent it on their own. Crazy right?
Wouldn’t it make sense that if you owned a brokerage, and your agents’ jobs were to sell homes, that you’d have an R&D department, or a process improvement department, to study how to sell homes better? And then make sure your clients receive the benefit of that learning, by giving your agents continuously better systems and processes to deliver the service?
That’s what every normal, professional company does in every other industry, right?
Not so in real estate. Ask your agent… What is your brokerage doing to help you sell homes for the highest possible price? What have been the recent process improvements your firm has implemented to sell homes better than every other real estate brokerage? Do you at least have a flowchart or a detailed checklist of what you are going to do for me?
If they don’t, then rest assured, the only thing they and their firm have focused on doing better is how to sell YOU. They may not have anything of professional substance to offer when it comes to selling YOUR HOME.
Okay, so the agent you’re interviewing is saying all the right things. Now you should politely ask them to …
15. Prove Their Results By Showing You Their Numbers from MLS
Before you hire an agent, or maybe before you interview them, ask them to bring you a print out from the MLS system showing their (and their firm’s) home selling performance.
This report should show the addresses of every home they sold in the past year, with date sold, original price, sold price, and days on market. This should tell you, regardless of how good their promises sound, whether they can actually deliver on those promises.
Those numbers from MLS don’t lie.
Also, your agent should be able to show you real testimonials from delighted clients. Real testimonials? Yes Because online reviews are not always trustworthy.
When I say real testimonials, that means actual photos of actual local people, putting their reputation on the line by including their real first and last names, expressing in their own words what a good job your agent and their brokerage did for them.
They should be able to show you at least dozens of these testimonials, not just a few. You need to see a consistent and overwhelming record of success in order to trust an agent with the super important job of selling your home.
Finally, one last thing your agent should have already done…
16. Offer You a Shorter Commitment Period
Most brokerage’s listing agreements are for six months. Why? If they are promising to sell your home for the maximum price, and if achieving that maximum price requires getting an offer early in the listing period, then they should proactively offer for you, to commit to them, for a lot less time than six months. Right?
Sixty days is plenty long enough for you to be committed to a listing agent, no matter what the condition of the market. Even in the worst case, in a second great recession or depression, if you feel they did their best, you can always offer to sign a new agreement for another 30 or 60 days, right? But you should not be obligated beyond that amount of time if the job they promised to do is not getting done.
If they don’t offer this shorter commitment period proactively, that’s not great. Ideally, it should already be typed into their listing agreement. But you can ask them and see what they say. If they argue for six months, what does that tell you about their belief in their selling process?
That’s How To Sell Your Home for the Maximum Price and in the Shortest Amount of Time
Wow that’s a lot. Sixteen things an agent MUST do and I think you’ll agree, as a seller, you deserve ALL of them.
Many sellers aren’t aware of all that an agent can and should be doing for them.Don’t worry though, there are great agents out there who will come to your home prepared to do everything right for you, and that will make all the difference to your bottom line, and peace of mind.
Take a moment to tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to read them and respond.
If you’re thinking about selling or buying or know someone else who is, we are never too busy for you or your referrals to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If you already know a Relevate agent just give them a call and they’ll be happy to help.
If you don’t already have a relationship with one of our agents, or if you live in an area where Relevate isn’t (yet), just send an email to me at email@example.com or call me at 919-740-7000 and I’ll be glad to introduce you one of our best agents, or a great agent from our network in your area of the country.